Clark and Hogg Family History

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Local History - Coroners verdict

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Including Lyon Clark's comments on the "bewitched" Birmingham - Wolverhampton New Road

50 Year anniversary of the Birmingham-Wolverhampton New Road

(from the Express and Star)

'The shortest distance between 15 sets of traffic lights'

September 27 saw the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Birmingham New Road. In a retrospective feature, the Express & Star had mixed opinions. We recalled how some had dubbed it "the killer road" while for others it was "the shortest distance between 15 sets of traffic lights."

Opened by the then Prince of Wales (later the Duke of Windsor) in 1927, the road had been intended to speed up traffic between Wolverhampton and Birmingham.

The Express & Star hailed it as "a bracing story of the triumph of imagination and faith over what at one time appeared to be insuperable difficulties."

But as traffic volumes grew beyond the dreams of the 1920s planners, the New Road took a terrible toll in its first 50 years.

In 1976 alone it had claimed eight lives and left 40 people seriously injured.

In 1938, recalled the newspaper, the West Bromwich coroner, Lyon Clark, had described the road as "bewitched." In ten years, he said, he had investigated 100 deaths. It was the most dangerous road he had ever known.

The trees planted along the road near Coseley are in memory of the local men who were killed in the First World War. Some people wrongly believed that they commemorated the road's own victims.

Express and Star report
ES Virtual Cenotaph - Wolverhampton alt better


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